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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 206168, 8 pages
Research Article

Sexual Shape Dimorphism of the Mangrove Crab Ucides cordatus (Linnaeus, 1763) (Decapoda, Ucididae) Accessed through Geometric Morphometric

1Grupo de Estudos em Ecologia e Fisiologia de Animais Aquáticos (GEEFAA), Departamento de Biologia, Ecologia e Zoologia, Centro de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Campus Universitário Lagoa Nova, Caixa Postal 1524, 59078-970 Natal, RN, Brazil
2Federal Institute of Science and Technology of Rio Grande do Norte, 59500-000 Macau, RN, Brazil
3Centro de Biociências, Departamento de Biologia Celular e Genética, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, 59078-970 Natal, RN, Brazil

Received 11 April 2014; Revised 16 July 2014; Accepted 16 July 2014; Published 14 October 2014

Academic Editor: M. Antonio Todaro

Copyright © 2014 C. E. R. D. Alencar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sexual dimorphism is often observed in Crustaceans. Considering the great diversity of this subphylum, only few reports are found in the literature and most are mainly based on traditional morphometry. The present study uses geometric morphometrics analysis to identify sexual dimorphism by shape variation in the overexploited semiterrestrial crab Ucides cordatus, species with great social and economic importance in South America. Comparative morphology analyses were performed by using the outer face of the propodus of major cheliped, dorsal and anterior region of carapace shape. Significant differences in shape between sexes were detected in these body areas. The causes of dimorphism presented in this species are not clear but, analogous to other possibly associated species, it may be inferred that the causes are with adaptations to body ability of reproductive potential (females), and of reproductive behaviour and agonistics encounters (males). Additional analyses on courtship displays and other reproductive aspects should provide better comprehension of functionality of this morphological differentiation.